Our skin is the largest organ of our body and requires the kind of care that can sustain its health and glow that only comes from taking care of it in the most natural way. Many skin care products that are sold in stores which are not organic or naturally derived, have harsh chemicals that can create havoc within our DNA. Over time, and sometimes immediately, these bodily changes can become noticeable on the surface of our skin.
What your skin looks like is a reflection of a much bigger picture of what’s going on inside of you. But sometimes it may not be so obvious knowing exactly how much damage is going on just beneath the surface of your skin.
Synthetic chemicals and preservatives that are in personal care products, could be putting you at risk for hair and skin damage, immunological problems, neurological disorders, damage to your eyes, and possibly even cancer. This is why it is so important to read the ingredients list and make sure that you’re the best advocate for your own good health.
The growing awareness of chemicals in the foods you eat has led many to begin reading labels. If you are doing this as part of your regular shopping routine, that’s great, and you’ll likely live a more quality life.
Skin and body products with harsh chemicals that pose a risk
- Eye makeup can be absorbed by your highly sensitive mucous membranes.
- Hair sprays, perfumes and powders can be inhaled, irritating your lungs.
- Lipstick is licked off and swallowed.
- Sunscreen and lotions are absorbed directly through your skin.
- Shampoo can run into your eyes or your baby’s eyes as well as be absorbed directly through your scalp.
- Laundry detergent, in small amounts, comes in contact with your skin via your clothes.
- Fabric softener contains highly toxic compounds which stay in fabric long after it’s washed.
- Fluoride Toothpaste, a chemical which is a neurotoxin, and astonishingly, offers little benefit to teeth.
- Deodorant contains high levels of toxic Aluminium which has shown to cause Alzheimer’s.
- Moisturizing lotions which contain Parabens and other chemicals, which have been found to cause cancer.
Chemical factories in a bottle
Putting chemicals on your skin or scalp may actually be worse than eating them. When you eat something, the enzymes in your saliva and stomach acids help to break it down and flush it out of your body. However, when you put these chemicals on your skin, they are absorbed straight into your bloodstream without filtering of any kind, going directly to your delicate organs.
Once these chemicals find their way into your body, they tend to accumulate over time because you typically lack the necessary enzymes to break them down.
There are literally thousands of chemicals used in personal care products, and the U. S. government does not require any mandatory testing for these products before they are sold.
The many protective functions your skin serves. Consider that your skin:
- Protects your internal organs from injury and infection and is your most important defense against infections.
- Helps eliminate wastes through perspiration.
- Assists your immune system by providing a protective barrier to viruses and bad bacteria, thus preventing infections.
- Provides a friendly habitat for good bacteria.
- Helps maintain body temperature by controlling heat flow between you and your environment.
- Seals in moisture, maintaining your body’s delicate fluid balance.
- Produces vitamin D, which is crucial for your health.
- Sends sensory feedback to your brain because it is rich in receptors, such as hard/soft and hot/cold, so that you can react to dangerous conditions around you.
Your skin is vital to your health, yet many people fail to take care if it. Because your skin has the ability to absorb much of what you put on it, informed choices are critical to optimize your health.
You should give your skin the same thoughtful care you give your diet, because much of what goes ON you ends up going IN you.
1. Synthetic fragrances often contain phthalates (pronounced THAY-lates), synthetic chemicals commonly used to stabilize fragrances and make plastic more pliable. These endocrine disruptors mimic hormones and may alter embryonic genital development. Avoid products that list fragrance as an ingredient unless the label states that it’s derived from essentials oils, or look for a phthalate-free label on the packaging.
2. Parabens are found almost everywhere in skincare products which is a preservative that extends shelf life–but these antimicrobial chemicals also have hormone-disrupting effects as well as being extremely carcinogenic.
3. Ureas, formally known as diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, or DMDM hydantoin and sodium hydroxymethyl-glycinate, are preservatives that have the potential to release formaldehyde in very small amounts and are a primary cause of contact dermatitis.
4. 1,4-dioxane, a chemical carcinogen, is created when ingredients are processed with petroleum-derived ethylene oxide. Common ethoxylated compounds include sodium laureth sulfate and polyethylene glycol (often listed as PEG). To avoid it, skip any product with the following ingredients: myreth, oleth, laureth, ceteareth (or any other -eth), PEG, polyethylene, polyethylene glycol, polyoxyethylene, or oxynol. Both polysorbate 60 and polysorbate 80 are also often contaminated with 1,4 dioxane, chemical which is a carcinogen.
5. Petrochemicals are derived from crude oil. Petroleum-based ingredients such as petrolatum, mineral oil, and paraffin (derived from nonrenewable sources) form a barrier when applied to the skin that does not allow it to breathe and can clog pores.
6. Paraffin is a byproduct of petroleum, a non-renewable resource. And while it might seem obvious to some, many people don’t realize that inhaling the fumes from paraffin candles is not good for your health. According to a study done at South Carolina State University in 2009, the chemicals found in the fumes of paraffin candles are linked to cancer, birth defects, and such respiratory ailments as asthma.
7. MEA/DEA/TEA are “amines” (ammonia compounds) and can form harmful nitrosamines when they come in contact with nitrates. Used as foaming agents, synthetic stabilizers, and to adjust the pH of cosmetics, they can cause allergic reactions, eye irritation, and dryness of the hair and skin.
8. Sulfates, such as sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate, are harsh detergents that give cleansers, soaps, and shampoos their latherability. Often derived from petroleum, sulfates can also come from coconut and other vegetable oils that can be contaminated with pesticides. Sulfates can cause eye irritation and skin rashes, as well as leaving your skin dry and stripped from its natural essential oils.
9. Chemical sunscreens, such as oxybenzone and octyl methoxycinnamate, have been shown to disrupt endocrine activity. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are safer alternatives.
10. Quaternary ammonium cations (Quats) such as benzalkonium chloride, steardimonium chloride, cetrimonium bromide, and cetrimonium chloride, give a positive charge to conditioners in order to prevent static. Safer alternatives are guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride, hydroxypropyltrimonium oligosaccharide, and SugaQuats.
11. Antibacterial compounds, such as triclosan and chlorphenesin, do not break down in the environment and may contribute to bacterial resistance. In many studies, it has been found that using antibacterial soaps can actually lower your immunity to fight off bacteria.
12. Synthetic polymers, such as sodium polyacrylate and carbomer, come from petroleum and give viscosity to skincare products. They are highly processed and their manufacture creates toxic by-products.
13. Synthetic colors are made from coal tar. They contain heavy metal salts that may deposit toxins onto the skin, causing skin sensitivity and irritation. Animal studies have shown almost all of them to be carcinogenic. They will be labeled as FD&C or D&C, followed by a color and a number.
14. Chelators, such as disodium EDTA and tetrasodium EDTA, are used in personal care products to remove impurities from low-quality raw materials. They do not readily biodegrade in the environment.
15. Nanos are a new technology with inconclusive but potentially hazardous study results. Research suggests that when tiny nano particles penetrate the skin, they may cause cell damage.
To make it simple to spot on an ingredient label, what you can do to avoid exposing yourself to these known chemical on your body, is to look for the following suffixes in the ingredient list: “myreth,” “oleth,” “laureth,” “ceteareth,” any other “eth,” “PEG,” “polyethylene,” “polyethylene glycol,” “polyoxyethylene,” “paraben,” or “oxynol.” If the ingredients list has any of these in the product, you should steer clear from buying it.
To achieve a natural body free from harsh chemicals, your healthiest bet is to purchase products that are certified organic under the USDA National Organic Program, and if those aren’t available, select products whose ingredients are safe to use.
5 Things Your Skin Needs Every Day
- Drink at least one litre of filtered water a day to get adequate hydration your skin needs from the inside out.
- An all natural antioxidant moisturizing lotion to keep your body hydrated.
- Wash your face every day or dead skin cells will appear and follow-up with a chemical-free natural moisturizer.
- If outdoors, apply an all natural sunscreen of at least SPF 30 to achieve adequate protection from the sun.
- Cleanse your body from dead skin cells with an exfoliating natural moisturizing body wash.